Episode 21: First: The Weak Influence of the Prophetic Legacy in the Arabian Peninsula
The influence of Prophethood and divine guidance was negligible in the Arabian Peninsula due to the fact that no Prophet was ever sent to the Arabian Peninsula before the coming of Muhammed peace be and blessings upon him, who was the last and final Prophet sent to all of mankind. Allah, the Most High, informs us that the Arabs were never sent a Prophet in His statement: Or say they: “He (Muhammed) has fabricated it?” Nay, it is the truth from your Lord, so that you may warn a people to whom no warner has come before you [O Muhammed] in order that they may be guided. [Soorah As?Sajdah, Verse 3].
Allah also says: “In order that you may warn a people whose forefathers were not warned, so they are heedless.” [Soorah Yasin, Verse 7].
And Allah explains that no book was revealed to them nor was there any messenger sent to them in his statement:
“And We had not given them scriptures which they could study, nor sent to them before you [O Muhammed] any warner” (Messenger).”
Then Allah removed any excuse that the Arabs might have had for not following divine guidance by sending the Prophet Muhammed peace be and blessings upon him right into their midst. Allah the Most High says in His book:
“And this is a blessed Book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down, so follow it and fear Allah (i.e. do not disobey His Orders), that you may receive mercy (i.e. be saved from the torment of Hell). Lest you (pagan Arabs) should say: “The Book was sent down only to two sects before us (the Jews and the Christians), and for our part, we were in fact unaware of what they studied.” Or lest you should say: “If only the book had been sent down to us, we would surely have been better guided than they.”
So now has come unto you a clear proof (the Qur’an) from your Lord, and a guidance and a mercy…” [Soorah Al?An’am, verses 155?157].
As for the vestiges of the religion of Ibraheem that they inherited from their forefathers as well as the traces left by those Prophets and Messengers who came after him, all of that had become no more than ancient ceremonies practiced out of a desire to claim that they possessed some heritage from their forefather Ibraheem and the Prophets who came after him (peace be and blessings upon them). However, the pre?Islamic Arabs strayed so far from the original forms of these religions that they even fashioned pictures of Ibraheem and Ismaeel to conform with the prevailing idolatry of the times. In an authentic hadith narrated upon the authority of Ibn Abbas who said:
“When the Messenger of Allah peace be and blessings upon him came to Makkah, he refused to enter the Ka?bah while there were idols in it. He ordered the idols to be taken out, so they were taken out. When they removed pictures of Ibraheem and Ismaeel holding Azlams in their hands, the Messenger of Allah peace be and blessings upon him said:
‘May Allah curse these people. By Allah, Ibraheem and Ismaeel never played the game of chance with Azlams.’ Then he entered the Ka?bah and said Takbeer in the corners of the Ka?bah but he did not pray while inside.”
Even more lamentable was the fact that the Ka?bah, which is the very symbol of monotheism, was turned into a house of idols and eventually housed 360 idols in and around it! In an authentic hadith narrated upon the authority of Abd?Allah ibn Masud who said:
“When the Prophet peace be and blessings upon him entered Makkah on the Day of the Conquest, there were three hundred and sixty idols around the Ka?bah. The Prophet started striking the idols with a stick he had in his hand, saying: ‘Truth has come and falsehood has vanished, the Truth has come and falsehood can neither create from the beginning nor can it restore life.’
The feeling that the pre?Islamic nation of Arabs had that they were the inheritors of the religion of Ibraheem and preservers of the religious rites that he came with and that they were the caretakers of the Ka?bah made it even more difficult for them to accept the message that the Prophet Muhammad peace be and blessings upon him was sent with by his Lord.
When he called them to make all of their worship for Allah, Who is alone without partner and Who alone deserves to be worshipped, they said: “Has he made the gods all into One God (Allah). Verily this is a strange thing!” [Soorah Saad: Verse 5]
While at the same time they would acknowledge that which was in conformity with the message of monotheism in times of distress as is evident in Allah’s statement:
“And when they embark on a ship, they invoke Allah, making their faith pure for Him only: but when He brings them safely to land, behold, they give a share of their worship to others.” [Soorah Ankabauut: Verse 65].
And whenever the Prophet Muhammad peace be and blessings upon him would warn them about the Day of Judgment they would deny all of the signs, proofs and evidences that the Day is in fact coming and they would say:
“When we are dead and have become dust (shall we be resurrected?) That is a far return.” [Soorah Qaf: Verse 3].